Integrating & Managing Social Media & Email Marketing
The rapid ascent of social media has ensured that marketers have a brand new tool in their arsenal when it comes to finding new leads. With the growth of social media marketing, it was assumed that email marketing was past its sell by date. In actual fact, social media has improved the performance of email rather than making it obsolete.
There is an array of myths surrounding email marketing with the most prevalent example being the aforementioned ‘death of email’. A recent survey conducted by Digital Street showed that some 95% of companies use email marketing while more than 80% use social media to market their organization. Integrating email marketing with social media makes sense when you consider the fact that 95% of 15-24 year olds on Facebook subscribe to a brand they ‘like’ on the network via email. If nothing else, it is apparent that social media subscribers need a valid email address to register so they are familiar with email if nothing else.
Don’t assume that email and social media are mutually exclusive. The vast majority of companies that provide email tools also offer companies Facebook apps designed to help a user capture various email addresses. You should do this as soon as you create a Facebook page. Another way to integrate is to invite all your email subscribers to ‘Like’ you on Facebook, ‘follow’ you on Twitter etc.
All email marketing experts know the importance of using data such as opens and sign-ups when looking to find their target audience. You can use social media in a similar manner by analyzing the methods with which your email subscribers found you in the first place. This helps you get an idea of what they may wish to receive from you in future. You could reward those who subscribed to your email through Facebook with emails containing special offers which can only be activated on the social networking site.
It is also vital to ensure that your emails are mobile phone friendly. Figures from 2010 showed that almost 500 million people used mobile email and this figure is set to rise to over 1.5 billion by 2015. Social networks are being accessed via mobile phone at a rapid rate. In fact, this method of getting onto Facebook etc. is increasing by 30% a year on average.
If you are in doubt as to the effectiveness of integrating email and social media marketing, Digital Street has another statistic for you: Companies that used email marketing only saw their organizations grow by 8% whereas businesses that integrated email with social media saw a growth of 15%. There’s food for thought!
Austin: Technological and Entrepreneurial Capital Of America
Why would anyone want to open a business in Austin, Texas? Maybe because the metropolitan area is one of the largest in the United States with 1.7 million people. Perhaps you will be wowed by the authentic Mexican cuisine, party atmosphere or amazing quality of life. Or you could just see the financial opportunity presented by the city which is a huge part of the Austin Round Rock MSA business hub. In 2010, this region enjoyed a GDP of $86 billion, making it one of the top 40 economic centers in the entire United States.
High Tech Mania
If you are a high tech company, Austin will feel like home. You will join dozens of companies with a worldwide reach including Apple, Google, AMD, Cisco Systems, Intel Corporation, Samsung Group and Xerox, all of whom have extensive operations in the city of Austin. Recently, Facebook announced the building of a huge office in downtown Austin with 200 new jobs created. While such news is of major importance in other US cities, it is just run of the mill for this bustling and thriving city.
At one time, Austin struggled like other high tech cities when the dot com bubble burst in the late 20th century. Unlike other locations affected by the collapse, Austin bounced back spectacularly. High tech companies have a huge choice of incredibly talented and qualified graduates from the University of Texas in Austin. The number of high tech companies opening offices in the city has led to Austin being nicknamed Silicon Hills as homage to Silicon Valley. The major difference being that property in Austin is substantially cheaper than its San Francisco Bay Area counterpart.
But don’t be fooled into thinking that Austin is for high tech companies only. Hundreds of other major companies in other industries have their home in Austin. Major pharmaceutical companies such as Hospira operate out of Austin and Fortune 500 giant Whole Foods Market has their headquarters in the city.
The experts at American Statesman have pinpointed Austin as one of the cities to watch when it comes to increased employment over the next 5 years. In fact, Austin should experience an employment growth rate of around 12% in that time with 105,000 new jobs likely to be created. Best of all, this increase is expected to be evenly spread over virtually every sector though the high tech sector may grow faster than every other industry. Austin is a city on the rise and if you want to grow a business, there are few better locations in the entire United States.
The Importance of Auto-Responder Emails
Are you interested in taking your email marketing campaign to the next level? If so, then you may want to consider crafting a series of Auto-responder emails. The majority of web hosts enable you to use email addresses that call up a pre-written email which is uploaded to the server. Once an email is sent to that address by a prospect, the email you have already written is instantly sent to that prospect. You can write emails and send them to your email subscribers at intervals of your choosing. Most marketing experts believe that you must send out at least seven emails on average in order to make a sale.
Offer Something For Nothing
Every great email marketing Auto-responder campaign begins by offering something for free. Those looking to sell an eBook (usually about how to get rich) will normally give subscribers a free chapter or a newsletter which outlines what the book is about. Regardless of what you send for free, hold your email fire for a few days or more. You need to give the recipient the opportunity to digest what you’ve just sent them. There is no point in sending someone a free chapter and bombard them with marketing before they’ve even have a chance to use what you’ve sent.
When creating Auto-responders, you can’t make the mistake of sending fluff because the subscriber will soon block your emails. If you decide to send seven emails, make sure that each one explains a different benefit to the product/service you’re selling. If you can’t come up with 6-7 reasons why someone should use your business, you don’t deserve anyone’s custom! For example, email two could mention discounts, email three could inform the recipient that they are losing money by not using the offer etc.
A common email marketing mistake is to send emails which are not formatted properly. Emails with uneven lines (line one is long, line two is short etc.) are unpleasant to read. This occurs when the recipient’s email is in a different format to your own. As a result, you need to ensure that your email is readable by all programs. Generally, line lengths should be set to 60 characters. There are a number of free programs online that enable you to do this automatically.
Statistics show that around 90% of customers purchase a product/service by the seventh email. However, less than 30% make purchases after one or two emails. Therefore, you need to be prepared to create several informative emails and start sending them via the Auto-responder mechanism if you wish to increase your bottom line.
Why Email Marketing May Earn You More Money Than Your Website
When email marketing is performed correctly, it can annihilate any other form of advertising when it comes to increasing conversion rates. In fact, email marketing is arguably more important than your website. While a site that correctly uses SEO will generate a lot of traffic, there is a big difference between someone visiting your site and actually spending money on your product/service. Naturally, you need to get your site in order if you want to get people seeing what you have to offer but well crafted emails are a crucial way to twist their arm and get them to make a purchase.
One of the biggest mistakes made by companies who do their business online is to pump the vast majority of their money into their website while ignoring other sales avenues. It’s understandable that so much money is spent on a site because this is where a business displays its goods. Hours of work and thousands of dollars go into the site to make it look as professional as possible. Email marketing on the other hand, is not glamorous and often forgotten. It’s seen as inconsequential when in fact, it could be what a flagging company needs.
Email marketing is a hidden goldmine because of its ability to directly contact prospects as opposed to generic website content that is uninteresting to the person concerned. Ask yourself: How many sites have boring content that talks mainly about how great the company is while neglecting to mention the benefits of using their product/service? With email marketing, you can explain why your company is the best choice.
Besides, websites alone rarely turn more than a few percent of visitors into customers. Email marketing increases your visibility because you can send a message to an incredibly large number of people. It also builds relationships which is a key element when it comes to generating repeat custom. Instead of viewing a customer as a one-time spender, you need to look long-term and calculate the amount of money they can place into your bank account over their lifetime. Remember, the real profits come from repeat custom because this lowers your overall marketing expenditure.
When you use email marketing as an advertising tool, you must always have high quality content and offer an easy way to unsubscribe which should always be located at the bottom of each email. Get email addresses of customers, hit them with a clever marketing campaign and enjoy the rewards.
Involving The Consumer In Email Marketing
Having a degree in psychology is not necessary when it comes to creating a successful email marketing campaign but it would certainly help! One of the most important things in any marketing drive is writing copy that has the ability to get inside someone’s mind. How often have you read web copy or a marketing email that really gets your attention? Generally, consumers are subjected to the same gimmicks and fluff and quickly grow tired of it. Email marketing’s sole purpose is to make sales and in order to do this; you have to gain a person’s attention.
Creating a subject line with an incomplete thought is a terrific way to begin. Did you know that our brains are designed to go crazy at the thought of incomplete information? The brain’s reticular activating system (RAS) ensures that we aren’t satisfied until we complete a puzzle. How often have you half-remembered some trivial information and went mad for hours trying to remember it all? If you can craft a subject line such as: ‘Did you know that small businesses increased their revenue by 80% when they……’ you could gain a person’s attention and cause them to open the email?
There are a number of other ways to trigger the consumer’s RAS within the email. Involvement devices work well in copywriting and also in email marketing. Ask the reader to write something down because this sends a signal to their cerebral cortex which tells them to pay attention. So instead of having a prospect read the email while half-asleep, you automatically gain their interest.
Ask A Question
Another terrific involvement device is to create a very quick survey in the email, perhaps even one question, and get the recipient to answer it. Make sure that the question you get them to answer directly relates to whatever it is you’re trying to sell. Perhaps you could also get your email recipients to take part in a poll, the result of which is of real interest to your members. Such an action gives your mailing list a chance to interact with you and have their say on something that may be of importance to them. This certainly makes a change from the litany of begging emails they receive on a daily basis.
Activating the RAS of prospects is only one small psychological device you can use to increase your conversion rate through email marketing. You need to make customers feel like they’re being heard. This can make all the difference when it comes to making sales.
The Real Value Of Customer Surveys
You may now know how to create customer surveys but you could be questioning their value. Well, marketing research shows that keeping existing customers is a lot easier and cheaper than gaining new ones. There are a host of clichés relating to the world of marketing:
Gaining a customer can take months or even years while losing one can happen in a split second
It’s 400% more expensive to get a new customer than keep an old one
If you retain 2% of your customers, you’ll save the same money as if you cut 10% of your costs
These may all be hackneyed sayings but they’re invariably true. Customer surveys are incredibly valuable because they reveal the mindset of your clients. Surveys can actually show you that certain customers are thinking of leaving you. Above all, customer surveys help you get to know your audience better and are one of the best forms of marketing that you can do. When you read any advice about marketing, you’ll always find that locating your target audience is a great time and money saver and is one of the first pieces of advice you’ll receive.
Hear Their Concerns
Companies often forget that customers love being listened to. Being asked for their opinion really pleases customers and they will often react well to such an invitation. From a consumer’s point of view, there are few things more frustrating than not being heard. When you send them a customer survey, at least they know that someone is listening.
Negative And Positive Comments
One of the main reasons why companies avoid sending customer surveys like the plague is because they are afraid of negative feedback. No one likes being told that they’re not good enough but negative comments can actually benefit your company if taken in the right spirit. While there will always be a few troublemakers who post nonsensical criticism, there are often valuable comments posted by dissatisfied customers. Such criticism could actually uncover flaws in your business which have escaped your notice. Now would be a good time to fix them!
Finally, customer surveys can be extremely uplifting for companies if they receive positive feedback. There is nothing more rewarding than having a random customer extol the virtues of your business. A positive comment can transform a gloomy winter morning where nothing gets done into one of the year’s most productive days.
With a customer survey, you are getting into the minds of your customers. You are not omnipotent so it’s necessary to gain a greater understanding of your clientele. By doing this, you will discover what your company is doing well and where it is going wrong. When you find out about problems with your service, you can fix them and further improve your business.
Designing Customer Surveys
It’s easy to be so engrossed in crafting new messages for your email marketing campaign that you completely forget the importance of allowing customers to have their say. Your profits may well be down or up and it could be a complete mystery unless you stop typing and start listening. After all, how are you supposed to know what’s right or wrong about your product/service/business unless a customer tells you? Without the consumer, there is no business so start considering the prospect of creating customer surveys to find out what the public really think of your company.
Planning The Survey
You’re used to painstakingly creating email marketing messages so taking the time to carefully plan and execute your survey should be no problem at all. You may have 100 questions that you would like to ask your customers but it’s best to keep it to 20 or thereabouts because most people’s attention tends to wander after this point. If you issue a survey that takes half an hour to finish or threatens to do so, very few people will bother completing it. Begin by explaining the purpose of the survey and the benefits. Perhaps you can offer potential prizes to those who complete the form. Many companies issue discounts which are awarded to a certain number of people.
Don’t Annoy The Customer!
Have a few gentle introductory questions and don’t go fishing for personal details straight away. It’s also important to ask one question at a time and not confuse the issue by posing multiple queries in a single sentence. This has a habit of irritating and confusing the respondent which will see the survey left incomplete. Assuming you are allowing multiple choice questions, please ensure that you have exhaustive answers that cover all bases without overlapping one another. When two or more answers appear to be virtually the same, this is an example of a poorly designed customer survey.
You must always use neutral language in the surveys to ensure that you don’t come across as biased. The questions must be posed in such a way that your preferred answer is not apparent. Essentially, you have to think carefully about the questions you ask and the order they appear in as well as offering all-encompassing choices. The purpose of customer surveys is to learn more about your company through the consumer as well as knowing more about potential customer’s preferences. Hopefully, the information you
Avoiding Spam Filters
When email marketing, you have to be careful not to get your message tossed into the junk folder. The amount of computer viruses and scams that take place online means that people who receive emails are wary. The CAN-SPAM Act became law in 2003 and had a number of revisions added in 2008. The Act is designed to fight against spam, viruses, pornography and other internet problems. Also, email servers have become more vigilant and have added virus and spam filters which block out unwanted emails. Some of these filters are so powerful that even legitimate emails can be blocked. Clearly, this would be a disaster to your email marketing campaign, so what can you do?
Once upon a time, getting your email opened was the single most important thing in email marketing. In the modern era, getting your email delivered is even more vital. No longer can you assume that everyone on your mailing list will receive the message you send. The filters in email programs enable people to add emails which contain certain words to their junk mail list. It’s also possible to create a blacklist which blocks emails from certain senders. You need to be aware of this if you’re planning an aggressive email marketing campaign. Too aggressive and you will be blocked forever.
They’re Only Words?
When you’re creating emails, you have to avoid the use of certain words. Obvious words and phrases such as ‘Free’, ‘Winner’, ‘Investment’, ‘Sale’ and ‘Cash Bonus’ should not be used. Most email programs will filter out messages with these words. In actual fact, there are hundreds of words and phrases that should be avoided to guarantee that your email passes spam filters. Terms like ‘big bucks’, ‘get paid’ and ‘call now’ may see your message blocked by filters. You should also avoid the use of $ signs, exclamation points and words that are all capital letters. Failure to do this will see your messages go to the email equivalent of purgatory and never get opened. You can use symbols between words to beat the filters. For example, say ‘ca^sh’ instead of ‘cash’.
If you’re worried about the email you’re sending, there are dozens of content checkers online which will tell you if the email will potentially be blocked by spam filters. It should be noted that there is no program online that is 100% accurate. Most of them only check emails against the filtering rules of certain spam filters. This is why you should leave out a word or phrase if you aren’t sure of its validity.
The Importance Of The Subject Line
What do you think is the most important part of email marketing? Some people still believe that using certain keywords is essential. Why? You’re sending someone an email, not trying to get seen on search engines! Keywords are irrelevant because the email is being sent to thousands of people. This doesn’t mean it will be seen however and having compelling content is not nearly enough. The vast majority of emails sent by customers to prospects never get opened because the subject line isn’t compelling enough
Make Them Curious
People are exposed to thousands of adverts per day. Whenever they receive an email, they immediately look at the subject line. If it contains a generic phrase it will be discarded. If it appears to be some sort of advert, it will be binned. You need to create emails which have subject lines that arouse curiosity. Some great subject lines that have been used successfully by companies include ‘You got me worried’ and ‘Are the rumors about you true?’ because they seem personal and have made you want to see what’s inside.
Don’t Follow The Herd
Certain companies who attempt email marketing campaigns go overboard when it comes to personalization and start to use the recipient’s name in the subject line. While ‘Hello John’ may have worked at one time, so many companies are now using this device that it is deemed to be generic and is immediately deleted. When crafting a compelling subject line, remember that there is a CAN-SPAM Act which prevents companies from using deceptive practices in a bid to get the recipient to open the email. Therefore, you can’t use a subject line which is completely different to the contents of the email or else you will violate the principle of being non-deceptive.
Join The Dots
As we have already mentioned, it’s vital that you avoid making your email look like an advert. This includes the subject line which must be devoid of phrases such as ‘profit’, ‘free’, ‘sale’, ‘buy’, ‘discount’ or similar terms which give off the scent of commerce. Include any of these terms in your subject line and you can be sure that the recipient will delete the email without opening it. One of the best devices to use in a subject line is an incomplete thought. The human brain hates an incomplete puzzle and is desperate for information that helps it close the topic. Only by opening the email can the brain rest.
Don’t worry about what to put in the email until the subject line has been sorted out. Once it is and an interesting title has been found, you’ll have completed the most difficult part of email marketing which is to get the prospect to open the email and start reading.
What To Look For In An Email Marketing Company
Companies who know which avenues they need to take in order to be a success are well aware of what email marketing can do for them. Virtually every company that has been asked about email marketing say that it’s an excellent form of advertising. A recent survey published by Econsultancy showed that almost 75% of businesses consider email marketing to be second behind SEO in terms of return on investment. Almost half of the companies in the survey suggested that email marketing was their number one advertising tool with around two-thirds of companies stating that an increase in email marketing was on the cards in 2012.
So how does a small business find a suitable email marketing company? Small organizations don’t have the room for error that their larger counterparts have which means that they must choose the right provider first time around. Avoid signing lengthy contracts with any agency. If they can’t give you what you need, a contract will tie you to their unsuitable services. By the time the contract ends, your company could more or less be finished. Note the difference between money back guarantees and free trials. If there is a free trial available, take it but be aware of catches. Money back guarantees carry stipulations so be wary before signing any contracts.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that ‘high-end’ (read expensive) email marketing companies offer you the same level of service. Expect there to be a tremendous difference in the features offered by each company. It’s not unusual for one company to have automation while another lacks this seemingly commonplace feature for example. Therefore, the onus is on you to check the services provided by each company. Go through them with a fine-tooth comb leaving nothing to chance. Only settle for a company that can give you precisely what you need. Don’t accept less than the best available on your budget because your entire business may rise and fall on the email marketing services provided by a company.
The number of subscribers you have dictates the cost. It’s not unusual for an email marketing company to charge $15 a month for businesses with less than 500 contacts while charging more than $100 a month for companies with over 20,000 contacts. Large companies will think nothing of spending $1,000+ on email marketing, small businesses may have to think twice. Also, be sure to read as many reviews pertaining to the email marketing companies y
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